1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to bars of soap that are used for bathing. More particularly, the present invention relates to bars of soap that have secondary functions and/or components traditionally not associated with soap.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Soap has been in existence in various forms for hundreds of years. One of the most popular forms of soap is that of a bar. A bar of soap is popular because it is easy to handle and manipulate while bathing. The bar of soap is traditionally made of pure soap and other water soluble ingredients. As such, the soap continues to function as soap until the bar is completely dissolved, thereby producing no waste product that must be thrown away.
Bars of soap have been manufactured in many different sizes and shapes. Over the years, novelty bars of soaps have been molded into many secondary items, such as flowers, seashells, animals and the like. However, regardless of what form the soap is molded into, the bar of soap is almost always made of totally dissolvable ingredients. As such, when the soap is used, the configuration of the bar of soap erodes away until nothing is left.
There are some instances in the prior art where electronic assemblies have been added to bars of soap. In such prior art products, an electronics module is placed in the center of the soap and the soap is used until the electronics module is exposed. One such prior art device. is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,125,398 to Horton, entitled Personal Hygienic Massage Bar. In the Horton patent, a vibrating device is positioned in the soap. However, whenever electronics are added to soap, there must be included some way to selectively activate the electronics within the soap after the soap is purchased.
In the cited Horton patent, a slot is provided in the soap near the battery. A plastic tab is placed in the slot and prevents the battery from making electrical contact within the soap. Once the soap is purchased, the tab is removed and the battery is activated. To prevent the vibrating mechanism from running all the time, a motion sensor and a timing circuit are provided that automatically shuts the vibrating mechanism off after a predetermined period of time.
There are many disadvantages to providing such electronics within a bar of soap. First, the use of a slot in the bar of soap for a plastic pull tab, provides an opening through which water can travel into the electronics module within the soap. Once the electronics are exposed to water, the electronics short out and the electronics module within the soap stops working.
Second, even if water does not get into the electronics assembly, within the soap, the use of motion sensors and timing circuits makes the electronics assembly large, complicated and expensive to manufacture. The larger the electronics module is, the more room the electronics module takes within the soap. This is especially true with a vibrating mechanism, which tends to be large. As can be seen from the Horton patent, the vibrating mechanism takes up most of the volume of the bar of soap. Accordingly, after only a very short period of use, the vibrating mechanism within the bar of soap can become exposed.
A third disadvantage of the vibrating mechanism used in the Horton patent is that the vibrating mechanism requires a large supply of electrical power. Vibrating mechanisms contain motors. Motors require electricity to operate. However, in the prior art, since the vibration mechanism itself tends to be large, small batteries are used to preserve space. Small specialty batteries, such as lithium and nickel-cadmium batteries are typically used since these are the only small batteries that can meet the power requirements of the vibrating mechanism. Such batteries are smaller than alkaline batteries, but are far more expensive. As such, by using small specialty, batteries, the price of the vibrating mechanism is greatly increased. Soap is a disposable item that lasts only a Short period of time. As such, the electronics within the soap must be able to outlast the soap, yet be inexpensive enough not to add significantly to the cost of the soap.
Simplified electronic assemblies have been added to soap in an attempt to limit the disadvantages stated above. For example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,861,505 to Farman, a sound producing assembly is provided in a bar of soap that is activated when the bar of soap is removed from a magnetic soap dish. Although such assemblies eliminate the need for pull tab openings and timing circuits, such prior art assemblies only work when the soap is oriented in a proper way with respect to the soap dish. If the soap is placed in the soap dish upside down or backward, the electronics assembly within the soap is not deactivated. In the Farman patent, the proper orientation of the soap is maintained by referencing an insignia formed in the soap. However, as is well known, the insignia on a bar of soap soon washes away. Once it does, the bar of soap can easily be misplaced and continue to operate unattended until the battery runs out.
A need therefore exists for a bar of soap that contains an electronic assembly, where the electronic assembly is water proof, very inexpensive, small, long lasting, uses conventional batteries and can be easily deactivated when not in use. This need is met by the present invention as is described and claimed below.
The present invention is a novelty bar of soap. The bar of soap has an external layer of soap, and therefore functions as a bar of soap. However, contained within the bar of soap is an electro-mechanical vibrating mechanism. The electro-mechanical vibrating mechanism is contained in a water tight housing that is set into the center of the bar of soap. Within the housing is disposed an electric motor. The electric motor rotates a weight from an eccentric point, thereby causing vibration. Two reed switches are connected in parallel within said housing. Two alkaline batteries are also provided in the housing, where the reed switches selectively power the electric motor with the batteries when at least one of the reed switches is closed. A body of soap surrounds the housing forming a bar of soap.
Within the housing, one of the reed switches is disposed proximate the top of the housing. Similarly, the other reed switch is disposed proximate the bottom of the housing. As such, regardless of how the bar of soap is oriented when placed down, one of the reed switches is positioned near the surface on which the bar of soap is resting. By providing a magnet on such a resting surface, the vibrating mechanism can be selectively deactivated every time it is placed down on the resting surface without regard for the orientation of the bar of soap.
For a better understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following description of an exemplary embodiment thereof, considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Also positioned within the center-section
The two reed switches
The reed switches
Since the electric motor
As can also be seen from
The reed switches
With the exception of wiring and molded plastic, the electro-mechanical vibrating mechanism
It will be understood that the embodiments of the present invention described and illustrated herein are merely exemplary and a person skilled in the art can make many variations to the embodiments shown without departing from the scope of the present invention. All such variations, modifications and alternate embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.